The Champions League is back, though Chelsea couldn’t have drawn a tougher opponent than Atlético Madrid. The La Liga leaders may very well represent Thomas Tuchel’s biggest challenge of the season, with tactics and team selection having to be inch perfect. Chelsea could certainly do with a first quarter-final since 2014.
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
There weren’t any surprises in the lineup as the WAGNH community stuck to the 3-4-3, with the likes of the 4-2-3-1 (12%) and 4-3-3 (9%) far behind. Simlarly, Édouard Mendy continues to not be troubled by Kepa Arrizabalaga (6%).
With Thiago Silva still out, a back three of Toni Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen and César Azpilicueta should work quite well. Kurt Zouma (46%) returns to the bench. Ben Chilwell is preferred to Marcos Alonso (40%) at wing-back after a poor performance from the latter over the weekend. On the other flank, it’s Reece James who has no competition with Callum Hudson-Odoi playing up front.
The N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovačić pivot weren’t at their best as Southampton held Chelsea to a draw on Saturday, but Jorginho (40%) once again misses out, with Billy Gilmour (2%) little more than an afterthought.
Hakim Ziyech (15%) was way off the pace on Saturday and the community reacted accordingly by favouring Mason Mount and Hudson-Odoi ahead of him. Christian Pulisic (38%) and Kai Havertz (25%) are just coming back from injury, and so the voters saw no need to rush them back. Timo Werner leads the line ahead of Tammy Abraham (14%) and Olivier Giroud (38%).
Mendy (93%) | Rüdiger (85%), Christensen (66%), Azpilicueta (80%) | Chilwell (57%), Kanté (74%), Kovačić (82%), James (60%) | Hudson-Odoi (63%), Werner (83%), Mount (91%)
MY PREFERRED CHOICE
Yes, I’m sticking with Jorginho. The team feels unbalanced without him on the field, especially since switching to Tuchel’s system. While Kanté should also be useful against opposition that tries to catch you on the break, yet I get the feeling that we’ll be in dire need of Jorginho here.
I was a little on the fence about who should start up front. Giroud seems a shrewd choice against a physical and deep-lying team like Atlético, but I understand why the community ended up sticking with Werner even if I don’t really see how he will fare any better against that strong of a defense. I hope I’m wrong.
I also kept Alonso in the side despite his recent poor display as my gut tells me he’ll turn up against Diego Simeone’s men. A little more height in the side wouldn’t be too bad, either.
Mendy | Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Jorginho, Kovačić, James | Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Mount